Wednesday, 24 June 2015

GREAT GHOSTS OF THE SHELVES Special - Mysteries of the Unknown

In the late '70s children's publisher Usborne, produced a new line of books aimed at young readers. Entitled 'World of the Unknown' it comprised of three large format paperbacks, with glossy covers and lavish colour illustrations throughout. One was  All About Monsters, the next All About Ghosts and the third and final volume All About UFOs. All three volumes were collected together in a large hardback edition which hit the shelves under the title of Mysteries of the Unknown.

Introducing kids to strange creatures such as the Lambton Worm, the Hopkinsville goblin and Gef the talking mongoose, and transporting them to weird locales such as Loch Ness, Borley Rectory and the Nazca Lines, these books are fondly remembered by several generations of children. Packed full of details and wonderful illustrations, these tomes were high octane fuel for the imagination and now can command frighteningly high prices secondhand... Something that make me very glad I still got my much cherished though slightly battered edition of Mysteries of the Unknown. Indeed I still enjoy flipping through this tome whose words and pictures still trill me to this very day. 

Last year, in as part of my adventures in audio, I decided to go through the books on air as it were and reminisce about their marvels and read aloud some samples of their magic. And as Usborne collected all three volumes together into one bumper package, it is only right and proper that I now do the same...

In this minicast, Mr Jim Moon once again dusts off a spooky childhood favourite. This time we talk about a volume in Usborne's late 1970s series World of the Unknown, the haunting tome All About Ghosts

DIRECT DOWNLOAD - Microbobs 05 All About Ghosts

Time travelling once more on the black batwings of nostalgia, Mr Jim Moon enthusiastically rambles about World of the Unknown: All About Monsters published by Usborne back in 1978. Swearing, over-excitement and a feast of monsterdom results!

 - Microgoria 04: All About Monsters

Completing the trilogy of World of the Unknown books, Mr Jim Moon, in a predictably over-excitable fashion, voyages back to the 1970s to take a look at  All About UFOs (Usborne 1977)


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Francois said...

So interesting. I like your style. I had these books in my elementary school library. Read them when I was six. I remember I borrowed them countless times. Not sure it was a good influence though.
The atmosphere in your podcast is very à propos. Your tone of voice also..
When I was about 20 I went to a children's library purposely to look at them again. Loads of fun.
I just bought them recently, such a vivid souvenir. That presentation is as captivating as internet is today. Those books are like a website, I find. The illustrations have something special about them. Such mysterious books they are...

Martin Meenagh said...

Excellent blog and podcast-- I remember the Usborne series very fondly. You're dead right about the cultural interest in all this sort of thing--this was the time of Hinchcliffe's Doctor Who, The Children of the Stones, Into the Labyrinth, and Whatever it was that Arthur C Clarke put his name to. I'm always glad to see these things are still all over the internet, and much appreciated--its always good to know I wasn't the only demented child out there!

Mr J said...

Nice blog, and good to see (aka listen to) your take.
I produced the 'World of the Unknown' at Usborne and, as Art and Editorial Director, many other titles.
'Ghosts' has found a second life, and was republished 'as is' in Autumn 2019.
My 'World of the Future' books have morphed somewhat to become a retro-future set, and I often give talks on these.
Best wishes, David Jefferis.